School may be out for summer, but that doesn't mean that the learning stops.  Just as kids are catching up on their summer reading, food service directors, dietitians and chefs are brushing up on their skills in the kitchen.  In fact, just this week several thousand of them converged on Dallas to learn the latest tools of the trade at the School Nutrition Association’s annual conference.

What's new in schools?  Once little known food choices like jicama and edamame are taking their place beside peas and carrots on lunch trays across America.  And celebrity chefs are leading food revolutions in public school cafeterias.

Many are part of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let’s Move!" program, something the beverage industry supports through its Clear on Calories labeling initiative.  This specific area of her campaign is called "Chefs Move Into Schools." Other cooks are coming to school lunch tables on their own.  At Sip & Savor we're as excited to see the national attention on the important topic of school nutrition as we are to watch talented chefs take their skills back to school.  In fact, just a few weeks ago "Top Chefs: DC" did an episode themed "Outside the School Lunch Box."

Sip & Savor salutes school chefs as they dish up nutritional meals for America's children.  Schools are special places, where parents want greater control over what their kids eat and drink.  The beverage industry agrees, which is why we’ve been a part of the effort to improve nutritious options in schools for years.  Through our School Beverage Guidelines we've slashed beverage calories shipped to schools by 88 percent and removed full-calorie sodas, replacing them with lower-calorie, nutritious and smaller-portion options.

And it's why we applaud the efforts of the School Nutrition Association's conference attendees, and look forward to the meaningful change that comes with renewed focus on this important aspect of child wellness.